How to Read Nutrition Labels?

Feb 26 2020

How to Read Nutrition Labels?

Click each item on the label below for additional nutritional information.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/3 cup (29 g)
Servings Per Container About 3

Amount Per Serving
Calories 140  Calories from Fat 45

*% Daily Value
Total Fat 5g 8%
  Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 210mg 9%
Protein 2g
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
  Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
  Sugars 11g
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% Iron 0%
* Percentage Daily Value based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Serving Size

When reading nutritional labels, always refer to the serving size amount. Then evaluate how much you are eating compared to the amount listed. You may find that you are eating much more than the listed serving size.

Servings Per Container

Servings per container tells us the number of helpings in the food package. In the example above, if you ate everything in the food container you would have consumed 3 helpings of the recommended serving size (1/3 cup). Therefore, there are 3 servings in the above food package.

Calories 140

The total number of calories in one serving (1/3 cup).

Calories from fat 45

The total number of fat calories in one serving (1/3 cup).

% Daily Value

The numbers shown under % Daily Value are based on a 2000 Calorie diet. Each number represents the percentage that one serving contributes to the dietary requirements of a certain nutrient. For example, 20g of carbohydrates (refer to label above) contributes to 7% of the daily carbohydrate needs for a 2000 Calorie diet. However, unless you are following a 2000 Calorie diet the % Daily Value should only be used as a reference.

Total Fat

The total number of fat grams in one serving (1/3 cup).

Fat facts

1. Dietary fat is essential for proper health.

2. Carries fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)

3. Fat provides 9 calories per gram. That is more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates.

4. Dietary fat does not cause individuals to become obese, excess calories do.

Click here for additional information on the nutrient fat.

Saturated fat

Fat is an essential nutrient that must be acquired though your diet for proper health. However, there are bad and good fats.

Bad fats are called saturated fats. Saturated fats remain solid at room temperature, and apart from coconut oil, and palm oil they all come from animal sources. Saturated fats consumption should be limited because they raise an individual's blood cholesterol and contribute to heart disease. Try to select foods with less than 3 grams of saturated fat per serving, and limit your total intake to less than 10% of your total calories.

Click here for additional information on the nutrient fat


Cholesterol is a calorie absent substance food in animal sources. Research has determined that high levels found in an individual's blood contributes to heart disease. For that reason, intake should be limited to 300 milligrams a day for people without any history of heart disease and limited to 200 milligrams daily for individuals with elevated cholesterol levels. Men on average take in 320 milligrams a day while women consume 220 milligrams.


The total amount of sodium in one serving (1/3 cup). Sodium is a substance food in table salt and typically used to preserve foods. Elevated levels have been found to increase blood pressure. Therefore, intake should be limited to 2400 milligrams a day. However, current intake for men is around 3850 milligrams and 2750 for women.


The total amount of protein in one serving (1/3 cup)

Protein facts

1. Protein consists of chains of amino acids.

2. Protein is required for the growth and development of all existing body tissues.

3. Protein provides 4 calories per gram.

4. Most Americans receive enough protein in the dietary habits.

Click here for additional information on protein.

Total Carbohydrate

The total amount of carbohydrates in one serving (1/3 cup).

Carb facts

1. Should provide the majority of calories in your diet (50% -60%).

2. Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred energy sources.

3. Carbohydrates yield 4 calories per gram.

4. Regulates cellular fluid balance.

5. Main sources should come from fruits, grains and vegetables.

Click here for additional information on carbohydrates

Dietary fiber

The total amount of fiber in one serving (1/3 cup). Fiber is an indigestible complex carbohydrate. Various forms have been proven to decrease cholesterol levels, slow sugar absorption, and positively effects the rate of digestion. The recommended amount is 25 grams a day for men and women. However, most Americans do not even consume a fraction of that.


The total amount of sugar in one serving (1/3 cup). Currently, no standard reference exists for sugar consumption. In addition, sugar amounts listed on nutritional labels include added sugars and natural happening sugars (ex. fruit, milk). For a more accurate picture (to determine if sugar is added), refer to the ingredients added at the bottom of the food label.

A good guideline to follow, try to limit added sugars to no more that 10% of your total calories.

Click here to for additional information on sugar and carbohydrates.

Vitamins and Minerals

The percentage listed is the amount that one food serving meets the RDA's daily recommendations for a vitamin or a mineral. However, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C are the only nutrients that require listing. The FDA has determined that these four nutrients are essential for a proper diet plan. Try to consume 100 percent of each and you will contribute to a healthier diet and lifestyle.

Click here to for additional information on vitamins and minerals.


Fitness Magazine eHow About Los Angeles Times
2021 © Changing Shape - All rights reserved.